Once again India has welcomed monsoon with lots of anticipation of abundant yield of crops as well as replenished water bodies. The other by product of monsoon is the dreaded floods. The latter is not welcomed like monsoons but only awaited by a nervous apprehension for the reason that every year floods play havoc in various parts of the country. One of the most furious and dreaded flood wave hits the state of Assam settled near the catchment areas of river Brahmaputra. Brahmaputra is a trans-boundary and one of the greatest rivers of Asia. It is a furious river and through its course from Tibet (its origin) to Bangladesh (where it drains in Bay of Bengal) it covers a distance of more than 1800 miles. The river along its course is the most dangerous in Assam (India) region where it is flood prone.
Unfortunately the only home to one-horned rhinoceros – Kaziranga national park is right in the eye of the storm. There has been a regular case of floods at the national park since 1988, yet till now the park authorities or the ministry of environment and forest have not got a robust disaster management plan to evacuate animals in case of flood scenario. According to the statistics in 1988 floods killed around 1,203 animals and in 1998 around 652 perished. This year the death toll at national park is 573 till now and this is when the floods have just started!! More flood waves are expected this season and we do not know how many more innocent animals will die.
It seems as if authorities are dependent on the animals’ adaptation to the flood-dependent ecology. However this approach is extremely pathetic and disgusting especially when the 11th five year plan has allotted around 80 million INR to the state government for flood control. The records have it that 30 million of these funds have been utilized so far.
Then why is it that animals are still dying??? Why nothing is done to save them??
Reports have it that most of these animals are run over by speeding trucks while crossing the highway to reach elevated grounds??? There are no officials or volunteers to stop the speeding vehicles on the highway nor there are sufficient speed breakers to check the speed limit. Moreover the disaster management department could not come up with a simple water management plan!!! This apathy of the authorities blatantly shows the misuse of flood control funds. Should it not be a priority to safeguard Kaziranga which carries rare and endangered species of Rhinos???
Events like floods and droughts as well as their annual repetition makes us wonder that a country that boasts of being a rising economic superpower cannot even manage its water problems. And it is true that unless India leverages its agriculture based sectors as well as safeguard its ecology, it is only a matter of time when it will no longer be able to sustain other sectors or for that matter its economic growth speed!!!!
- India floods kill threatened rhinos (mnn.com)
- Flooding in India kills 600 animals in nature park (greenfudge.org)
- Epic: northeast India floods kill 121 and displace 6 million (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)
- Assam floods ravage Kaziranga, 540 animals dead (ibnlive.in.com)